Category: robin talley

Pulp by Robin Talley Review

Title: Pulp

Author: Robin Talley

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I first read Robin Talley’s books when I came across As I Descended, a modern lesbian take on one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, so when I found out that she was writing a new book, this one going back and forth through sixty years to tell the story of two lesbian young women, I was sold. I devoured Pulp in two and a half days, absolutely spellbound. The prose was snappy and sharp, and I loved the characters; this book seemed to take my heart and wring it out completely. A novel of self-discovery, true love, writing in all of its forms, and staying true to yourself at all odds, I loved Pulp! Easily one of my favorite books of 2018! Robin Talley has outdone herself with this meticulously researched and beautifully written novel; I will never forget Abby or Janet, and how they changed each other’s lives.

               Janet Jones and Abby Zimet are two queer teens, separated by sixty-two years, and bound by the power of storytelling. Janet Jones, eighteen years old in 1955, shares a love that is forbidden by law and society with her best friend, Marie. It’s most certainly not easy, being gay in the time of McCarthyism, but when she discovers books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens a fierce desire to tell her own stories. Combine that with a romance that must be kept under wraps at all costs, and Janet is risking far more than her heart; she could endanger the woman she loves as well. Sixty-two years later, in 2017, proud lesbian Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject: lesbian pulp fiction. All to happy to escape her real-life problems and anxieties, she finds women just like her in the books she studies, but the one she most cherishes is a book by a woman who goes by the pen name ‘Marian Love’. Determined to track down the woman who so inspires her, Abby embarks on a journey of self-discovery and realizes that she is capable of more than she ever could have realized.

               This book was really a breath of fresh air! I really, really enjoyed it. It was meticulously researched and beautifully written; after I finished the book I went down a historical rabbit hole of sorts, searching for the sources that Talley used in the novel. The pacing was breakneck, and I really liked the dual points of view, giving a lot more depth to the story, as well as the time periods that the young women lived in. Abby and Janet felt similar, but not so much so that they weren’t strong characters in themselves. I also enjoyed the portrayal of both of the girls’ families, but especially Abby’s; it was surprisingly true to life and incredibly painful. And the character development was to die for. This book made my heart break, soar, and sew itself back together again; it was remarkably tender, funny, and thought-provoking, and I loved every single moment of it. I loved As I Descended, but Pulp is definitely my favorite book by the immensely talented Robin Talley. A gorgeous, groundbreaking triumph of young adult literature, and I will never forget Janet or Abby; they will stay with me forever. Fantastic, I cannot recommend it enough. The bottom line: Meticulously researched, nuanced, and thought-provoking, I loved Pulp! One of my favorite books of 2018! Next on deck: The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/01/pulp-by-robin-talley-review.html

A Thousand Endings and Beginnings by Ellen Oh …

Title: A Thousand Endings and Beginnings

Editors: Elise Chapman and Ellen Oh, various authors

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Anthology/Short Story Collection

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               This gorgeous short story collection has been sitting at the top of my library stack for a while; I had to do a library rehaul and decided I didn’t want to take it back without reading it, so, as soon as I was finished with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, I pushed it to the top of the stack. This lovely little book contained 15 retellings of Asian myths and legends, and for the most part, I really enjoyed them! As there are fifteen different stories, I will pick my favorites out of the volume and review them individually, as well as give an overall rating for the whole collection. I was really excited about this book; I love short stories and retellings, so it was really exciting to be introduced to myths and stories from Asian cultures.

               Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this one! Romantic, melancholy and heartbreaking, this was one of my favorite stories in the volume. The Mountain, a beautiful goddess, falls in love with a human and plans to elope with him. But when his fellow villagers become convinced that he is hiding something from them, the goddess’s heart is shattered. Lyrical, beautiful, and bittersweet, I loved this doomed love story.

               Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong: 5 out of 5 Stars. This one was beautifully written, telling of a late chef’s daughter whose duty to the dead is the only thing she clings to after her mother’s tragic death from cancer. I really liked this one; the descriptions were beautiful and sad, and by the end of it, I was in tears. A story of forgiveness, legacy, and moving on, I loved it so much. Amazing!

               Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra: 4 out of 5 Stars. I’m such a sucker for star-crossed lovers! A girl goes to a party and is greeted by a handsome stranger who insists that he has seen her before. Freaked out by the strange encounter, she returns home, only for her mother to tell her a story that tells of a forbidden love from her past. The writing was beautiful, lyrical and hypnotic, and the ending had my jaw on the floor! Amazing!

               The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Ailette De Bodard: 4 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story; it’s one of my favorites in the collection. A fairy tale of two sisters who long to escape the tedium of their lives working for the emperor, one turns into a bird and the other is given a coveted position of being a counter in his own household; the writing was lush, lyrical, and enchanting, and I loved the ending!

               Nothing Into All by Renee Ahdieh: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story! Sibling rivalry, magic, goblins! A pair of siblings long for different kinds of freedom; one longs for gold and fiscal security, while the other wants her own life outside of her village and family. When the sister is blessed by a goblin, the brother grows jealous and quickly covets what she has. But be careful what you wish for, for you never know just how it will turn out…

               Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story; it was so beautiful and lyrical, and it read like a fairy tale. The daughter of the sun, hidden from all, falls for a man who is drowning in a river and saves his life, never mind that his life had an expiration date before they met her. It was bittersweet and heartwrenching, and I really enjoyed it. Absolutely gorgeous and unforgettable.

               Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa: 4 out of 5 Stars. Kitsunes! Forbidden love! A twist ending! This story is one of my favorites in the whole volume; a boy is rescued from starvation and thirst by a mysterious family hidden in the mountains. He stays with them for a while, never realizing that his generous hosts are a family of magical half-fox demons, one of whom feels just slightly more familiar than the rest. I loved the ending, and I really enjoyed the bittersweet love story that took center stage in it.

I really loved this gorgeous, diverse and ranged short story collection, and I’m so happy that I was able to read it before returning it. Like all anthologies, there were a couple of stories that really weren’t my cup of tea, but overall, I very much enjoyed it! One of my favorite books of 2018 for sure. I’ve been waiting for this collection my whole life, and I’m even more curious about the original myths and legends that inspired them! The bottom line: A diverse, ranged and timely collection of short stories inspired by Asian myths and legends, I loved A Thousand Endings and Beginnings, and it’s become one of my favorite books of 2018! Next on deck: Pulp by Robin Talley!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/01/a-thousand-endings-and-beginnings-by.html